McCabe & Mrs. MillerClosed Captioning
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One of Robert Altman's most provocative films turns the Wild West on its ear. Warren Beatty and Julie Christie are a small-time gambler and a madam who go into business together.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 38
- Fresh: 34
- Rotten: 4
- Average Rating: 8.4/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: The movie haunts you like a ballad whose tune you remember but whose words hang just beyond reach. And like listening to a ballad, we know the outcome of the events we're watching was foretold long ago, but we're helpless to do anything but surrender.
Fresh: Robert Altman has made a dozen films that can be called great in one way or another, but one of them is perfect, and that one is McCabe & Mrs. Miller.
Fresh: Still Robert Altman's best moment, this 1971 antiwestern murmurs softly of love, death, and capitalism.
Fresh: They say that great actors are never knowingly caught acting; Altman's best movies are similarly effortless - experiences to be lived in, rather than simply watched.
One of my all time favorite films
McCabe and Mrs Miller is a real gem by director Robert Altman. It is a well acted, well crafted and beautifully filmed movie with a fantastic soundtrack of Leonard Cohens best music. It is a western that is very different from the westerns I grew up with. It documents a transitional time when the old west was changing into a more modern America. The scene with a new steam powered vehicle shows the technological changes and the films plot is about an entrepreneur's success which is in conflict with the ruthless practices of large business interests.
The casting is fantastic, from all the interesting minor characters to the fantastic work by Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Aberjenoir and Shelly Duvall, the acting is superior .
I watch this movie at least once a year and enjoy it every time.
One Of Altman
McCabe and Mrs. Miller turns the classic "western" movie on its head, sideways, and every other way. In place of the western-standard spectacular panoramic scenery of Monument Valley and other arid regions filmed in wide scope with spectacular vistas, this movie takes place in a west of the high mountains, where it is cold, damp, muddy, cloudy, and almost claustraphobic living in the towns wedged into the mountain valleys of the California boomtowns of the turn of the 20th century. Also unlike most standard western dramas, this is not a story with a wonderfully-happy, satisfying ending that ends with a beautiful sunset. But the experience of this film is as satisfying as it gets, if one enjoys a perfectly imagined and poetic combination of sights, sounds, and drama that makes much more sense and seems much more real than the old conventional westerns. In total, this is one of the most moving films I've seen- in its matter-of-fact way of unraveling its tale.
Warren Beatty is a vaguely-sleazy entrepeneur with a big mouth, a fairly quick wit, and the ability to talk his way into profitable friendships. He also has at least a little heart, as we can see in his growing affection for Mrs. Miller, played in exquisitely-controlled sadness by Julie Christie. Unfortunately, for McCabe, Mrs. Miller has her own ideas about her relationships with men, and her feelings for him are undeniable, but are only allowed to go so far. McCabe's plans for developing both his business and his relationship with Mrs. Miller are disrupted when a predatory businessman sends his associates with an offer to buy out McCabe's businesses in the town. When McCabe brashly turns down the offer, thinking he can negotiate a better deal, he soon finds out he is dealing with people see no need to bargain with him when they can resort to violence with impunity. McCabe finds the courage to stand up and fight for his stake in the town, and his life, but we know as we listen to the mournful, poetic songs of Leonard Cohen singing on the soundtrack that McCabe is in over his head in a situation he cannot control.
The film is a rare, understated look at the reality of the old west, as it is changing over time, in it's taudry, manifestly unjust historical inevitability. This film is a beautiful work of art that is honest in showing reality in a way that other "western" films do not. As usual, there are extra pleasures in listening to the overlapping dialog and observing the appreciation for the subtleties of behavior, and attention to detail, that Robert Altman is known for using in his films. One of my favorites of all time, this film with envelop you in its ragged charms and stay with you forever.
When Altman meets Cohen
Just the tangibles make for a perfect storm:
-Altman continuing to develop innovative super multi track style that mixes up to a dozen different elements all cued up at high enough levels to actually hear them all, very symphonic: hearing main dialogue competing with peripheral/background characters all wrapped up in speaking their minds, punctuated with loud ambient sounds of chairs, boots, tables,…usually some "live" music by characters visible, complimenting one of the most profound movie scores of all time with the Songs of Leonard Cohen, that serves both as a traditional musical soundtrack (Lawrence of Arabia comes to mind) BUT in a totally revolutionary step in Cinema, uses the actual lyrics of each song as a stunning narrative with the same gravitas as any VO from the likes of Orson Welles or other powerful offscreen narrative voices.
-the cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond's "double fog filter" vision of the America's Pacific Northwest in the late 1800's shooting the deep winter of the nomadic gold rush towns that sprouted up here and there in the dark snow bound forests that lure fortune hunters, gamblers and the earliest, most desperate incarnations of the American businessmen and women, who scraped out the footholds for their painful, clumsy efforts as pioneering capitalism that would lead directly to the insanely corrupt, and unavoidably lucrative endeavor to profit on anything that moved,….that had money to pay.
-the incredible acting of Beaty and Christie and the long list of characters that thanx to Altman's all get "equal opportunity" to get their two cents in,…and then some.
Just these few features, vaulted Altman and this masterpiece to the peak of Cinema history, and I personally and looking forward to the day when I can see this in 5.1 or better and as close to 1080 as possible.
Because this film is incredibly poetic and important for anyone who loves movies.